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About the National Square Dance Convention

What is a National Square Dance Convention® (NSDC)?
  • The NSDC is a gathering of dancers and Dance Leaders from around the world, dance organizations, and suppliers for the purpose of discussing common objectives, exchanging ideas, trying out new techniques, and dancing together. All aspects of the total square dance movement are normally present at the Convention.
How is the NSDC organized as a corporation?
  • The National Square Dance Convention®is a nonprofit, tax exempt corporation, incorporated in the State of Missouri by the National Executive Committee (NEC). Each member of the NEC serves as a Director of the Corporation. The NEC’s mission is to ensure that a convention is conducted each year.  Each Convention is a separate franchise of the NSDC.
Why should an organization Bid for a Convention?
  • A NSDC is the largest Square Dance Convention held in the United States and the opportunity to host a Convention is considered the apex, peak, or top event of a square dancer’s career. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many square dancers, since it is an event that takes place close to home only once in roughly 10 to 15 years.
  • Hosting a National Convention will give the organization the opportunity to invite dancers and Dance Leaders from around the world to experience their city, dancing, community, and hospitality. Without a doubt, it is a lot of hard work, but the camaraderie that you will develop with your dancers and organization will strengthen into life-long friendships. You may even be able to recruit former dancers to rejoin the organization.
How successful are the Conventions?
  • Without question, the NSDC is one of the largest, most successful gathering anywhere in the world. The most awesome and unbelievable fact to sophisticated, professional convention planners is that the 4-day convention is planned and conducted by amateurs and volunteers who devote thousands of hours just for the love of their recreation.
Have all conventions been a financial success?
  • Yes, all recent conventions have been financial successes.
What happens to any profit from a specific convention?
  • Each convention is a separate financial entity, organized under the corporate laws of the state where the convention is held. Depending on the IRS status of a corporation, any excess funds are available to support future local square dance activities.
What are the goals of a NSDC?
  • The Convention is planned to:
    • Promote the square dance activity worldwide.
    • Promote good, sound leadership training.
    • Include well-planned, quality Education Sessions and workshops.
    • Present square dancing to the public as a wholesome, enjoyable, relaxing family recreation.

About the NEC (National Executive Committee)

Who is the National Executive Committee (NEC)?
  • The National Executive Committee (NEC) is made up of former General Chairman of the National Square Dance Convention®. The only way to become a member of the NEC is to be a General Chairman for the National Convention.
How often does the NEC meet?
  • The NEC meets at least twice a year – one at the Pre-Convention Meeting typically held in early Spring and one immediately prior to the Convention in June. Meetings may be held at other times – if required.
Do NEC members receive free Convention registrations?
  • No, each NEC member must purchase their own Convention registration, program books and special event, as well as pay their travel expenses to the Convention just like all other dancers and Dance Leaders.
How is the NEC funded?
  • The NEC receives a franchise fee from each convention registration which is used for NEC operating expenses.
What are the duties of the NEC members?
  • Each Convention is assigned 3-4 NEC members who serve as NEC Advisors to that convention. Additionally, each NEC member is assigned a specific area of the convention and serves as the NEC Phase Advisor. Finally, each NEC member is assigned a geographic area (state) to represent, any organization wishing to place a bid to host a future convention would contact them for assistance. Thus, with four (4) conventions in the planning stage, there may be as many as 16 NEC members traveling and working with conventions.
How are General Chairman for conventions selected?
  • General Chairman for a Convention are elected or appointed by the Local Square Dance Organization, usually a state level group, sponsoring a bid for a specific NSDC.
Who can be a General Chairman?
  • The General Chairman must be an active square dance married couple and cannot be an active caller or round dance cuer. They must be able to devote the time for the multi-year planning of their convention and willing to work after their convention as a member of the NEC. A General Chairman cannot be replaced without prior written approval of the NEC.
Are there other Committee Chairman jobs that can be callers or cuers?
  • Yes, callers and cuers can be Chairman for Business, Publicity, Registration and Housing, Services, Social and Special Events, Legal, Computer Coordinator or Ceremonies Coordinator. All of these jobs are very time demanding and Dance Leaders may find they have schedule conflicts when attempting to hold these positions.

About Bids

Who may bid for a Convention?
  • Any organized association or federation of square and round dance clubs may bid for the opportunity to host a Convention. Those organizations with experience in putting on conventions or festivals in their area would have a better chance for consideration.  Convention Bids are not accepted from Convention Bureaus, Chambers of Commerce, or other civic or commercial enterprises. 
We have decided to bid, what’s next?
  • First, seek the approval of your Sponsoring Organization, typically a local association or federation. Next, contact the NEC Area Advisors for your state, listed on this website.  The NEC Area Advisors will visit the location to meet with the square dance leaders and inspect the proposed facilities. If these are determined to be sufficient, the NEC Area Advisors will assist the bid team in the preparation of a comprehensive bid package. The bid package provides full details of both leadership and facilities and includes pledges of support from the state square dance organizations, hotel associations, convention facilities managers, governing city officials and many others.  The bid package is due to the NEC 90-day prior to the start of the Convention at which the bid will be made .
We are interested, but our state organization hasn’t yet decided to support a bid. What can we do?
  • You are invited to attend the next Pre-Convention held in the Spring. During this meeting you will have the opportunity to attend various breakout sessions covering many aspects of the Convention and a facilities tour.  This information may be especially instructive for potential bidding cities. Contact your NEC Area Advisors for more information.
If we are the successful Bidder for a Convention, what support can we expect?
  • The NEC Advisors assigned to your Convention will provide invaluable information and recommendations during the planning of the Convention. The NEC will provide the Convention with electronic copies of the NSDC Guidelines containing extensive information for conducting the Convention.  
What is a Pre-Convention?
  • The Pre-Convention is held approximately 15 months prior to a Convention at the Convention facilities. The meeting is conducted with the NEC observing and advising on the overall preparation and planning to be done by the Convention committees. This is a great opportunity for Future Conventions Members to hold discussions with Counterparts.
What is the minimum facility we should have for a convention?
  • At a minimum, the following facilities are required to host a convention: 175,000 square feet of floor space that may be obtained through use of convention center, arena, and hotel facilities.  The total facility space must include at least 75,000 square feet of floor space capable of being divided into a minimum of 9 dance halls*.  Space for 8 to 10 meeting rooms ranging in size from a seating capacity of 25 to 150 persons.  An area for approximately 30 to 40 Vendor Booths.  An area for Showcase of Ideas exhibits of approximately 80 tables, this can be a large hallway, atrium, or shared with a large dance hall. An arena, auditorium, or theater-type seating accommodating 1,500 people.  Approximately 12 to 15 small miscellaneous type rooms.
How many hotel rooms will be used by a convention?
  • The number of hotel rooms used by a Convention will be equal to approximately 25 percent of the total attendance. For example, a 3,000 Convention attendance will use about 750 rooms, for a total of 3,000 room nights. Additional organizations meeting before, during and after the Convention may increase the hotel room nights needed.
What Recreational Vehicle facilities are needed?
  • Facilities for recreational vehicles (RV) and tent campers will be needed. The number of RV spaces will depend on the geographical location of the hosting city. Approximately 100 – 200 spaces should be considered.

General Questions

What organizations may be expected to meet during the Convention?
  • Many organizations take the opportunity to meeting before, during, and after a Convention. Caller School, United Square Dancers of America (USDA), Alliance of Round, Traditional and Square Dance (ARTS), National Association of Square and Round Dance Suppliers (NASRDS), CONTRALAB and ROUNDALAB are just a few of the organizations that may hold meetings during a Convention.
What is the National Squares E-magazine?
  • The National Squares E-magazine is electronically distributed 10 months per year, August through May, by the NEC to promote the who, what, and where of the Convention. The subscription is Free. You can register your email address using the “National Squares E-magazine” tab on this website.
Why should I buy a convention Program Book?
  • The Program Book is a tremendous source of information about the current convention. However, most dancers wait until they get home to look at the book. The most useful part of the Program Book are the small pamphlets called “Dailies” which are sold as a package with the Program Book. The Dailies designed to fit into shirt or pant pockets or in purses. The Dailies enable the dancer to easily carry the entire daily schedule with them.
Is there an electronic version of the Convention Schedule?
  • Yes, there is a mobile app that is released 1-2 weeks prior to the Convention. The mobile app provides a “real time” update on the Convention activities as well as information on services close to the Convention including local restaurants, medical facilities, pet services, religious services, etc. The mobile app can be downloaded for a small fee through the App Store on your phone for both Apple and Android devices.
What is a Trail Thru Dance?
  • Dances held “on-the-trail” to the Convention are called Trail Thru Dances. These dances may be sponsored by any group and are not official convention dances. They celebrate the visitation of dancers passing through the area “on-the-way” to the Convention.
What is a Trail End Dance?
  • Trail End dances are held the night before the official start of the Convention and signifies that the travelers have reached the “end-of-the-trail” to the convention. There may be several Trail End dances conducted at the convention facility, local hotels, or other dance facilities.
How many After Parties are at a Convention?
  • The number of After Parties is restricted to three (3) each night of the Convention, one Square Dance, one Round Dance and one Youth. The After Party Dances begin after the regular dance schedule concludes, usually at 10:00 pm.
Who may sponsor After Parties?
  • After Parties are sponsored by future conventions and organizations such as ARTS, USDA, CALLERLAB, etc. The Saturday night Square Dance After Party is sponsored by the Bidding City(s).